Alex Jones' coronavirus vaccine conspiracy theories are a public health threat
In the lead-up to the Food and Drug Administration’s first emergency approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones used his Infowars outlet to bombard the internet and terrestrial radio with the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility in women.
Widespread rejection of vaccines against COVID-19 would frustrate the lifesaving goal of achieving herd immunity against the disease through vaccination rather than through natural infection. Not only would widespread death continue for an indeterminate amount of time, but public health orders that restrict activities would also continue, hampering an eventual return to normalcy.
The infertility claim’s origin is a petition submitted to the European Medicines Agency by Michael Yeadon, a retired doctor who worked for Pfizer, and physician Wolfgang Wodarg, that baselessly suggested Pfizer’s vaccine is a potential threat to the placenta. Both Yeadon and Wodarg have previously spread misinformation about COVID-19, including Yeadon’s October claim the “pandemic is effectively over” and Wodarg’s false claim that COVID-19 is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu.
As reported by the Associated Press, viral social media posts have further exaggerated the baseless claims of Wodarg and Yeadon to claim that COVID-19 vaccines sterilize women. Jones has done the same, and he also pushed other false claims about COVID-19 vaccine safety.
While the share of Americans who say they will receive a COVID-19 vaccine has recently ticked up, recent surveys have found that men are significantly more likely to say that they will get vaccinated compared to women.
During a seven-day period ending on December 9, Infowars’ streaming platform Banned.video published dozens of videos that attacked vaccines, seven of which are listed as having more than 100,000 views. (While Jones has been largely deplatformed from major social media outlets, he uses his Banned.video streaming platform and his show is broadcast on a substantial number of terrestrial radio stations.) A sampling of the video titles from the week-long period:
- Doctor Explains Why He Prefers Death Over The COVID-19 Vaccine
- Big Pharma And MSM Don't Care If A Vaccine Kills You As Long As They Get Rich!
- Covid-19 Vaccines Are Depopulation/Sterilization Weapons
- Dr. Francis Boyle: 'Bioweapon' mRNA Vaccines Violate Nuremburg Ruling Against Nazi Cruelty
- COVID Vaccines Will Target And Destroy Female Reproductive Systems
- Top EU Scientist Warns COVID-19 Vaccine Linked To Sterilization of Women
- Top Scientist Warns Covid-19 Vaccine Road 'To Your Doom'
Jones has falsely claimed new COVID-19 vaccines will “destroy the immunity of some, give people autoimmune diseases for others, and target the basic protein in the placenta so a woman will have miscarriages every time,” that if the vaccine doesn’t kill women outright, “it will eat your placenta,” and that “scientists” say that “these vaccines don’t protect you, they can kill you, they can sterilize you” as part of a depopulation plot. His underlings have also been pushing the same false sterilization claims on their Infowars shows.
Infowars is also leaning on notorious anti-vaccine figures to push the false sterilization narrative. During the December 7 broadcast of Infowars show War Room, disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield gave credence to the sterilization claims. Wakefield is best known for using fraudulent data to introduce the false, but widespread, belief that vaccines cause autism in children. He was joined on the program by Lori Gregory, the publisher of the anti-vaccine The Mom Street Journal, who falsely claimed COVID-19 vaccines are “population control in the youth” because of sterilization and “euthanasia for grandma.”
Jones has pushed other unfounded claims about the new COVID-19 vaccines, including falsely claiming that people who receive the vaccines will die the next time they encounter a common coronavirus. In one instance, Jones relied on Fox News for his vaccine conspiracy theories, playing a clip from Laura Ingraham’s show in which her unhinged guest said COVID-19 vaccines will send you “to your doom.” Jones introduced the Fox segment by claiming that the vaccines will cause 80% of people who receive them to become ill.
Infowars is also gearing up to spread disinformation about a future event meant to build confidence in the vaccines. Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have all said they will receive a COVID-19 vaccine on camera. Both Jones and Infowars host DeAnna Lorraine have suggested that the events will be staged so that the former presidents are not actually receiving the vaccine.
As is often the case with Jones, he has included violent rhetoric in his commentary. During a December 4 rant about how the new vaccines are “cancer” and will “attack the placenta,” Jones said, “This is war,” and added, “I don’t want to start going around and killing people, OK? But I’m just telling everybody something: We have a duty to not put up with this and to get in these people’s faces.”